Okay. Seriously now. I have fully come to realize and accept the fact that — as humans — we are all inherently hypocrites. Sad but true. But it took becoming a mom and facing the daily challenges of parenthood for me to really embrace this truth about being human.
What is a hypocrite? I spent some time researching the various definitions of this word/concept and realized that there are several ways to look at hypocrisy. Some definitions of the concept suggest that a hypocrite is someone who pretends to have a virtuous character but does not truly possess it. But this perspective does not seem “right” to me for how I mean to use the word.
The definition I settled on for the purpose of relating hypocrisy to parenting is as follows: A hypocrite is someone who preaches one thing and does another.
In my experience as a parent, I find myself confronting my own hypocrisy on almost a daily basis. Other parents I know openly admit that they, too, struggle with saying one thing and then doing another. When I go out to public places and take the time to observe other parents interacting with their kids, I inevitably take note of hypocritical comments or behaviors being made. We just cannot escape it.
One of my biggest challenges as a mother and homemaker in our consumeristic culture is keeping our home clutter free. I am constantly nagging my 6-year-old daughter about how many toys and things she has and that we are not going to bring any more toys or THINGS into the home. And yet, just this week when we were out shopping for household items like toilet paper and soap, we walked past a display of big plastic balls and what did I do? I let her pick one out to buy and bring home.
As a family, we consistently talk about what it means to be healthy individuals and that one aspect of being healthy is to be mindful about how much sugar we consume. But after a particularly rough day, what do I do? I sit down with a handful of York Peppermint Patties or a big bowl of Breyers ice cream and indulge in the pleasure of devouring the succulent toxins.
I set 8:00 pm as a bedtime for my 6-year-old but then 8:30 rolls around and we are so engrossed in a Harry Potter movie or in reading one more chapter of a fantasy novel that I blatantly ignore the very rules I put into place.
I could go on and on listing more examples of hypocrisy that creep into my experience of being a parent. I never thought that this is the type of mother I would be — preaching one thing and then doing another.
But you know what? It’s okay. I HAVE to let it be okay, or I would go crazy. As parents, we need to learn to laugh at ourselves and our hypocrisy. Because sometimes getting through the day just keeping everyone in one piece is the best we can do. And sometimes, we have to just buy the big ball.